Dumka (Jharkhand), Nov 18 (PTI) Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Saturday said illegal sand mining was "rampant" in Jharkhand and Bihar.
Speaking at a press conference in Jharkhand's Dumka district the Union Minister of State for Forest, Environment and Climate Change said illegal sand mining in Jharkhand and Bihar was also a threat to nature.
"Despite several directives by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), illegal mining in two states (Jharkhand and Bihar) is rampant," Choubey said.
The Union minister was on a two-day visit to Jharkhand as part of the Bharat Sankalp Yatra, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Khunti district on November 15.
"Illegal mining is one of the major reasons behind the rising incidents of murders, rapes and other crimes in the two states. Illegal mining is also a great threat to nature," he said.
Speaking over Delhi pollution, Choubey blamed the AAP government in Punjab and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for declining air quality in the National Capital.
"Burning stubbles and vehicular pollution are the major reasons for rising pollution in Delhi. The stubble is mostly burnt in Punjab," he said.
Choubey said Kejriwal had claimed if AAP government is formed in Punjab, stubble burning will decline there.
"But exactly the opposite happened. Currently, more stubbles are being burnt in Punjab. As per our report, stubble was burnt at 1,973 places in Punjab just two days back, while it was at mere 36 locations in Haryana where there is BJP government," he claimed.
The Union minister said the Centre is working on several projects to improve air quality. Under the directive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Forest and Environment ministry has decided to develop 1,000 'Nagar Van' (Urban Forest) in cities, he said.
The ministry has received 33 proposals for Nagar Van from Jharkhand. "The ministry has already approved the projects for six cities—Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Hazaribag and Giridih— in Jharkhand and released Rs 538.51 lakh. In the remaining projects, Deoghar, Godda and Dumka are included," Choubey said. PTI CORR SAN SAN RG